The Baroque Refectory is part of a monastery complex of the Dominican Order located between the Husova, Jilská and Jalovcová streets in the Old Town of Prague. The great Baroque hall was built at the end of the 17th century as the main ceremonial hall of the most important Dominican monastery in Bohemia. The hall as we know it today is the result of an Early-Baroque reconstruction whose author is believed to have been the Italian architect Carlo Lurago. The artistic decoration of the hall was most likely finished before 1712. Besides rich stucco decorations on the walls and the vault, the hall boasts almost fifty paintings of different sizes divided into several thematic cycles. With regard to the primary function of the hall as a dining hall, the most prominent places on the walls were dedicated to images of feasts and banquets.
The centre of the vault is occupied by a monumental scene from The Wedding at Cana, depicting the moment in which Christ, at his mother’s prompting, turns water into wine. The adjacent paintings, St Giles Giving Water to a Wounded Doe and St Dominic with Brethren Are Being Served by the Angels, were inspired by legends about the patron of the monastery and the founder of the order. The “banquet” scenes at the front of the hall are also based on the gospels and Dominican legends.
The window niches are decorated with 18 portraits of saints and hallowed Catholic authorities, such as St Thomas of Acquinas, St Vincent of Ferrer, St Catherine of Siena and others. The remaining paintings have also been inspired by parables and quotations from the Bible. Incorporated in many of the paintings are discreet attributes of patrons from among the nobility and higher clergy who co-financed the decorations of the refectory.
The historical venue of the Baroque Refectory has been chosen by a number of film makers as well, and was one of the Prague settings featuring in Miloš Forman’s Amadeus.
Jilská 5, Praha 1, 110 00